“Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.”
—James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States

Friday, February 25, 2011

The big picture

The tired, old cliche says that misery loves company, but when it comes to decimating state aid to education and medical care for the elderly and disabled, we're finding no solace in the news of the day.
The Wall Street Journal offers a bleak, state by state assessment of what is going on, and the picture is not pretty — America awash in a "sea of red ink."
The Journal reports: "Most states' budgets will be in place by July 1, and in the short term, the money problems stem from the weakened economy. Income and sales taxes, among the largest contributors to state budgets, have improved from their low points during the recession. But in many states, that revenue remains far below pre-recession levels. Meantime, states used an estimated $150 billion in federal stimulus money to plug budget holes over the last two years but most of that money is gone.
"This year's gaps will be closed somehow, as almost all states are required to balance their yearly budgets. Governors from both parties have proposed a host of cuts in most areas of government, with some of the biggest reductions targeted at education and state-funded medical care. But with cities and states still on the hook for longer-term pension and health-care obligations that are underfunded by about $1 trillion, according to the Pew Center on the States, states' fiscal woes will persist well beyond this year."

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